MATSUE, Shimane Pref. – A woman in her 90s died last week at a hospital in Oda, Shimane Prefecture, because a feeding tube that had not been properly inserted into her stomach came loose, causing peritonitis, hospital officials said.
According to Oda Municipal Hospital, a doctor replaced a feeding tube to the woman’s stomach Dec. 31. The patient was sent back the same day to the nursing home where she resided.
She was brought to the hospital again the next day after she developed a fever and had difficulty breathing.
Doctors found that the insertion of the feeding tube was incomplete, and that liquid food fed into the tube had entered her abdominal cavity, resulting in peritonitis.
The woman died early Jan. 2, the officials said.
Normally, doctors confirm whether a feeding tube has reached the stomach by using a special camera.
In this case, the doctor who replaced the tube did not do the confirmation because of the difficulty in inserting the device due to the patient’s age and the fact that one side of her body had been paralyzed from a stroke, the hospital said.
“We will make efforts to fully enforce the confirmation procedures and prevent a recurrence,” the hospital said in a statement, which included an apology to the woman’s family.
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